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France’s TOWT Expands Sail Cargo Plans Ordering Six Additional Ships

sail cargo ship
TOWT's first two vessels are nearing completion to enter service in the coming months (TOWT)

Published Apr 29, 2024 5:13 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

French sail shipping company TOWT (TransOceanic Wind Transport) announced ambitious growth plans for its vision of carbon-free cargo shipping. Even before the company launches its first two dedicated vessels in the coming months, they report strong demand and supported by leading investors ordered six additional vessels. They also shared a grand vision of 500 ships by 2050.

The concept is to transport niche cargoes in dedicated vessels that will be large enough to be economically viable. They point out that while current sail cargo operations are 35-ton vessels, the two ships now under construction in Vietnam at the Piriou shipyard will each be 1,000 tons. Each vessel is 260 feet in length with two mats and will be able to carry 1,100 tons of cargo. TOWT forecasts that the vessel will carry up to 20,000 tons of goods per year.

Today they are reporting the order of six additional vessels also to be built by the Piriou group. Three vessels should be ready for service in 2026 and the others in 2027. By 2028, the company forecasts it could have annual revenues of €60 million and the capacity to transport 200,000 tonnes annually.

 

First two sail cargo ships will launch in June and July 2024 (TOWT)

 

"After two intense years of work, we are extremely happy and proud to take this significant step in the history of TOWT. With the construction of these 6 additional cargo sailboats, we are consolidating our position as a pioneer in the transport of goods by sail by increasing our fleet to 8 ships,” said Diana Mesa, co-founder and director general, and Guillaume Le Grand, co-founder and President of TOWT.

TOWT says each vessel will be moved by a set of sails with over 23,000 sq. feet of sail area providing speeds of approximately 10 knots. Operations will reduce carbon emissions by 95 percent compared to conventional cargo ships and they report strong interest from shippers.

The first two vessels, ordered in late 2021, are nearing completion with the masts having recently been raised on both ships. The company’s published schedule calls for Artemis to enter service in late June and Anemos in early July. The service will be primarily between Le Havre, France and New York as well as sailings to Colombia, Brazil, and Guadeloupe. 

Atlantic crossings between Le Havre, France and New York are expected to take about two weeks. In addition to the cargo, the vessels will be able to carry up to 12 passengers and operate with a crew of seven.

 

 

The company has been operating chartered sailing ships for 13 years and reports it has already transported more than two million products. They report having chartered 20 vessels and operating 70 trips. Recently they completed a new round of funding from well-known investors including Révolution Environnementale et Solidaire fund, Atlante Gestion, the Caisse des Deposits and Consignments, CIC, and Bpifrance. The general public also contributed €5 million coming from around 2,000 individuals.

The company reports the additional vessels will permit it to increase capacity and accelerate the frequency of departures. Their target is weekly sailings. They also look to open new routes with dedicated additional ships to Asia, Africa, and additional countries in South America.